Category Archives: Fiction

Book Review Featured Image

Book Review: Power Games by Richard Peters

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own]

I get 5-10 requests a month from publishers and authors to review their books here on B&BR and usually accept 3-4 of them because I don’t have as much time to read as I would like.  When Richard Peters, the author of Power Games: Operation Enduring Unity I contacted me and inquired about reviewing his book I had a stack of 5 other books I was working through and initially almost turned him down for lack of time.  Man, am I glad I did not.  Power Games is one of those rare fiction books, for me anyway, that grabs you from the start and won’t let go.  I read the whole book in a marathon overnight session because I could not put it down.

The premise of the book is the story of the opening months of the second Civil War in America.  The book starts with a botched assassination and tings spiral out of control from there.  The divided and fractured nature of current American politics is shown for the failure waiting to happen that it is.  as through a series of plausible steps the country swings from disaffection with the results of an election to open rebellion.

The action is non-stop and believable and the author’s experience as a combat vet is clearly evident by his realistic descriptions of combat itself.  Just as realistic is the description of politics and journalism.  Mr. Peters, grasps the essential corruption of current American society and shows how that corruption can lead to disunion when there are no leaders worthy of the name on the national stage.

The quality of the writing is outstanding, I was constantly kept in mind of the works of other writers such as Tom Kratman, John Ringo, and Michael Z. Williamson when reading this.  His book is easily as good and s well written as any major published military or sci-fi writer.  I have found another author to add to my list of people who I will eagerly await there next offering.

As an added bonus, Mr Peters is donating the profits from the book to the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project, a charity that supports wounded and il military members at the US Military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.  That is a cause I, as a veteran can support wholeheartedly.

I highly recommend this book.  It is available on as both a hardcopy and for Kindle.

Formic Wars Graphic Novel variant cover art by Bryan Hitch.

Book Review: Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

Earth Unaware is the first book of the Formic War trilogy, which is the prequel to the The Ender Quartet that first appeared in the 1980′s.  It essentially tells the story of how earth and humanity got into the position of developing Battle School and the fleets that Ender uses to wipe out the Formics in Ender’s Game.

Formic Wars Graphic Novel variant cover art by Bryan Hitch.

Formic Wars Graphic Novel variant cover art by Bryan Hitch.

This book starts off with rather a whimper but quickly picks up speed and keeps you glues to the pages.  I got the distinct impression that my wife was annoyed because I would not put the book down in the evenings while I was reading it.  Anyone who has read the Ender Quartet will like the book as well as people who like SF but have not read Card or Johnston’s work before.  Mazer Rackham, who plays a bit part in Ender’s Game also appears in this work, if briefly.  But there are hints that there is more to come and indeed he must become more prominent because it was he who is responsible for defeating the Formic invasion of the home system.

This review will be short because I do not want to include too many spoilers.  I will sum up the plot this way.  This is the story of how humanity made first contact with the Formics, discovered their invariably hostile nature, and reacted.  It includes Free Miners in the Kuiper Belt, corporate giants, and an international military force.  Once the story picks up speed it does no stop and ends with a very good cliffhanger.

This is an outstanding work of classic science fiction and even though it is set in the Ender universe it can be read by someone who has no familiarity with the Ender Quartet at all.  Like just about everything else Card has written, this is worth the time.  I highly recommend this book.

Book Review Featured Image

Book Review: Slow Apocalypse by John Varley

Slow Apocalypse by John Varley is one of those books that only come along once every few years.  It is a book that makes you think without even realizing it.  The first Varley book I ever read was Steel Beach and Slow Apocalypse is on a par with that book.  It is an absorbing read and somewhat of a morality tale.

The book itself 438 pages long and I would guess it runs about 60,000 words.

The premise is interesting and plausible.  Imagine some mad scientist developing a bacteria that breaks the hydrogen bonds in petroleum turning oil into worthless sludge.  That is what happens in this book.  The story itself follows the journey of Dave Marshall, a struggling screenwriter as he first finds out what is about to happen and then struggles to take care of wife and daughter in the strange, disintegrating post bug world of Los Angeles and southern California.

As Varley did with Steel Beach, he has constructed a believable world and storyline.  He creates characters that you start to care about and want to know what happens to them.  Slow Apocalypse is another great book and story from John Varley that is well worth reading.

Book Review: The Lotus Eaters by Tom Kratman

The Lotus Eaters is the third installment of the Legio del Cid series by Mr Kratman. The book picks up after the Legion has successfully pacified Pashtia and returned to Balboa. Its takes place mainly in Balboa as the Legion prepares for their inevitable showdown with the corrupt rump regime protected by the Tauran Union in their enclave near the Balboan Transitway.

This is an obvious stepping stone book that fleshes out the story and provides more background rather than really advancing the plot line of the series. If I were a cynic I would say that this appears to be a mash up of all the mini-plots Mr. Kratman put together as he developed the main story line. I do not know that to be the case however. This is almost like the most recent Honor Harrington book in that it essentially goes nowhere in an entertaining manner.

All that being said, I like this book. I particularly like the development of the glider and submarine as well as finding the discussion of the way in which the Isla Real is fortified to be not only interesting, informative as well. This may not be the book that I wanted to read, but it is excellent nonetheless. All in all, another great read from Mr. Kratman. My only complaint is not with this book but rather with the wait between this book and the next one. This book ends with a teaser that leaves the reader wanting to know more. The next volume is titled Come and Take Them and will be released in November and it’s about damn time. eARC’s should be available on Baen a few month’s before that.

The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines-Book Cover

Book Promotion: The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines by Eddie Thompkins

Loyal readers,

I was approached by Mr Thompkins via email about reviewing his novel The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines. This is a self-published work and one I will not be able to read for at least a month because of the pile of other books I have recently gotten from publishers. I plan on reading this book and writing up a review on it but in the meantime in the interests of encouraging other people to write and giving them a chance to publicize their own work I offered to let him post a promotional piece here at Battles & Book Reviews. Below is the text he sent me to promote his book. Notice that it is available for free on Smashwords.

The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines-Book Cover

The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines-Book Cover

In 1992 Somalia was on the brink of humanitarian disaster. Warring tribes had sparked a violent civil war following the collapse of the Barre government in 1991. The distribution of food and resources was heavily disrupted, leaving the people of Southern Somalia to starve; 300,000 would die in the famine. As the death-toll rose and the intensity of the conflict increased, a team of United Nations Peacekeepers, led by the United States, entered Somalia with the aim of creating a protected environment for humanitarian operations.

The mission was known as Operation Restore Hope.

Eddie Clay served as a US Marine peacekeeper during Operation Restore Hope. The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines is based on his personal experiences in Somalia between 9 December 1992 and 21 March 1993. Clay recounts the pursuit of a beloved and revered warlord, the disarming of an entire community – and its unexpected consequences – and reveals how he fell in love with a beautiful Somali interpreter named Ayan. He explains the challenges, the fears and the crisis of ‘conscience versus the Rules of Engagement’ he shared with his fellow Marines, Airmen, Sailors and Soldiers during this notorious humanitarian mission.